It’s hard to believe that the much loved film Grease, will be celebrating its 40th birthday next year. But its timeless catchy hit songs and teenage high school love story ensure that it continues to appeal to audiences of all ages worldwide.
Grease is certainly the word on everyone’s lips this week in Cardiff as the UK Tour takes centre stage in the Wales Millennium Centre (WMC). Tom Parker (the Wanted) makes his first theatre outing as lead role Danny Zuko, with the talented Danielle Hope (Over the Rainbow winner) playing the hopelessly devoted Sandy.
The premise of the plot is of course pretty simple, boy meets girl, boy rejects girl and then decides ‘she’s the one that he wants’ after all.
There’s also plenty of high school drama, with young love, teenage pregnancies and plenty of cheerleading and bopping at Rydell High to keep you entertained throughout.
Parker certainly has the swagger to play a convincing Danny and takes to the stage with confidence and ease. Whilst he can clearly sing, his voice doesn’t quite match the theatre-esque vocal talents of Hope, although he more than makes up for it with his comedic timing and mastering of complicated dance routines. Dance wise Parker could even give fellow band mate and winner of Strictly Come Dancing, Jay McGuiness, a run for his money.
Hope is vocally fantastic and pitch-perfect throughout. She transitions from the shy square Sandy to sassy Sandy in her skin tight leathers with ease. Her solo performance of Hopelessly Devoted is nothing short of outstanding.
But the show does not rest on the shoulders of the leads; it is very much a team effort. The Pink Ladies and T-Birds all put in brilliant supporting performances.
The classic hits such as Summer Nights, Born to Hand Jive and the epic Grease Light’nin’ do not disappoint. They are belted out along with colourful and energetic dance routines expertly choreographed by Arlene Phillips.
Jimmy Osmond also makes the most of his 5 minutes on stage as Teen Angel with his pantomime like performance of Beauty School Drop Out. Whilst this is the most boring part of the film version, it is one of the stand-out highlights of the stage show.
If there is a better loved musical than Grease, I can’t think of one. What a relief then that the current UK tour is doing it justice and delighting fans old and new. You’ll be guaranteed to leave this ultimate feel good musical on a high, dancing and singing the rest of the night away with “A-wop- bop-a-loo-bop, a wop-bam- boom!”
Grease is showing in The Wales Millennium Centre until Saturday 29th July. For more information visit: www.wmc.org.uk
(All pictures provided courtesy of The Wales Millennium Centre)